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Greg Dulli’s Five favorite films

By Ryan McNally

Vocalist, songwriter and musician Greg Dulli is currently on the road with The Twilight Singers in support of their excellent new album Dynamite Steps. And as I discovered during my recent interview with Dulli, he’s a huge movie fan who frequently passes the time on the tour bus after shows by catching up on some films.

On the eve of the Twilight Singers’ May 5 Atlanta show at the Masquerade, I asked Dulli to tell me about his all-time favorite movies, from classic films to more recent fare. In addition to mentioning Citizen Kane, Annie Hall, Out of Sight, The Lives of Others, The Lookout and several others during the course of our conversation, he zeroed in on these five favorites:

1) Jaws
Dulli: “The first movie that I freaked out for and loved was Jaws. I loved that they didn’t really show the shark until the end and when they finally did—you look at the shark now and you have to suspend disbelief. The not knowing but knowing was great to me. I’ve seen that movie as many times as I’ve seen anything.”

2) The Bicycle Thief
Dulli: “I remember when I got to school and began to watch the classics, when I first saw The Bicycle Thief. I didn’t know anything about Italy growing up and Italian neorealism. And I knew people who were poor, but I didn’t know people who were that poor and whose very livelihood was dependent on their ability to get around on their bicycle … That movie was a really powerful movie for me on a bunch of levels—on a historical level, on a societal level and on a personal evolution level.”

3) Saturday Night Fever
Dulli: “I saw that movie a bunch of times. That was my entree to ‘70s New York. New York City was always very mythical to me, and in a way that movie—it was Brooklyn and then he [John Travolta] goes to Manhattan at the end with the dancer he wins with—there was something kind of like an odyssey for me, like Homer or something—leaving home and going to a new place.

I loved the music in that movie. I’ve since gone back and read the article it was derived from (“Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night”) that someone turned into a screenplay. When I was a kid you saw what came to Hamilton, Ohio. There was no art house. I did see Woody Allen movies before I got to college, and that was a different side of New York. I remember Taxi Driver and Mean Streets and Saturday Night Fever in particular showing me a side of New York that was like, whoa, that’s a different New York than Woody Allen’s New York.”

4) Animal Kingdom
Dulli: “Last year there was a movie called Animal Kingdom that blew my mind, I mean straight up. It resonated with me almost in a Goodfellas kind of way—Goodfellas one of my favorite movies of all-time too. She [Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver] is definitely the scenery chewer, but the movie turns on the kid. I would say that Animal Kingdom, which I saw like three times, is one of the best movies—not of the last couple years, but that I’ve ever seen.”

5) Boy A
Dulli: “I really loved Boy A, which was an English movie from about three or four years ago about a kid who commits a horrible crime as a child and is released when he’s 21. There’s someone who’s trying to integrate him back into society with a new name and a new identity, and then there’s a bunch of people who want to find out who that motherf—er is who did the crime.

Boy A kind of haunted me in a way because there were some really great performances and it was really well told—well shot, great soundtrack, incredibly human. You don’t know what’s going to happen next—it’s really kind of intense like that. That movie is amazing.”

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